Dec 17, 2020, 05:55AM

Pick Your Poison

I might as well be smart about my alcoholism.

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Red lines on my arm drip onto the gray bathroom floor. I quickly improvise a makeshift gauze out of cheap, thin toilet paper. Another day, another meltdown at work. Too much noise, too many tasks, and not enough resources to do the work. It’s no wonder Brenda Ann Spencer didn’t like Mondays. A co-worker swaddles my arm in cloth. “Please text me when you get home,” she says. I promise her, but first a quick visit to the Medicine Man.

He always has the cure: rows of his special elixirs neatly lined up on the shelves. What’ll it be today? Something to hide in a messenger bag. No one needs to know I failed again. A pint of Jim Beam it is, then! It tastes like paint thinner, but it’ll do for now. Medicine isn’t supposed to taste good, anyway.

I take a swig in the car before heading home. The bittersweet taste of giving up! No therapist, psychiatrist, or group can provide the same euphoria that comes in a bottle. Even razor blades and cigarettes aren’t much fun anymore. Tightly-bound muscles loosen their grip around my lungs as the booze flows through the veins. Dare me to drive? If so, get out of my way. That means you, too, old lady with a handicap sign hanging from the mirror.

Better not drink it all at once. The last time, I drank half a liter and was floating in a sea of nothingness. Time no longer existed, except for a few scraps of memory: Mom asking what’s wrong, vomit covering my naked body, and hundreds of messages after apparently announcing on Facebook I was drunk/suicidal again. Try sipping every 15 to 30 minutes this time. A steady sedation without the oblivion. I might as well be smart about my alcoholism. I understand why bartenders used to say, “Pick your poison.” Every sip feels like acid eating away my esophagus. Eventually the poison will kill me, but at least I won’t feel a thing.

My body protests waking up the next morning. Sleeping through the entire day sounds like a better idea than performing the same old boring daily rituals. What if I sleep through my entire life? I should have enough pills to knock me out forever. One empty bottle of pills later, and then I’ll finally rest through eternal slumber. Put it away in the ideas folder for now, along with all the other seeds that will never bear fruit.

Daniel the Therapist shows up on screen and asks for updates. Through a drunken slur, I tell him everything: the red lines, the Medicine Man, eternal sleep. “We need to get you stabilized now,” he says. Shit, the men in white coats are finally coming for me! And I have to go to work tomorrow, too. “Okay, let’s get you in touch with the mobile crisis network.” After an hour-long phone call with a nice lady, the men in white coats have been called off for now.

This space is intentionally left blank because fuck knows what happens next. Will our hero keep sliding down the spiral faster than Trent Reznor? Will a deus ex machina trope save the day at the last minute? Stay tuned next week for the exciting conclusion!


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